Written by Anthony Riches
Review by Chris James

This is the second volume of Riches’ new series, The Centurions, following his successful Empire series comprising nine novels. In this saga, the reader is taken back several decades to an even more turbulent time, the bloody and confused succession to Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian Emperors. This was the year 69 AD, referred to by historians as the year of the four Emperors: the year in which, as Tacitus famously writes, it became known that Emperors could be made outside of Rome.

Riches exploits the narrative potential of this period with a book focused on the Batavian revolt on the Rhine frontier. With the legions engaged in civil war, opportunities arose for revolt, and the Batavian uprising should be seen in this light. Nonetheless, it did pose a serious threat to Roman rule. Without wanting to give too much away about the book, I will only say that it is another fine military page-turner from one of the best in the business. Recommended.